Spain drastically cuts the price of protective masks

The government has lowered the maximum price for disposable protective masks by 25%. He faced criticism from consumer associations but also from the extreme right.

Since Tuesday, November 17, Spanish shops and pharmacies will not be able to sell disposable protective masks over 0.72 cents euros per unit, compared to 0.96 previously. Or a decrease of 25%.

A decision taken in particular in the face of criticism from consumer associations. Daily The country cites a study by the Consumers and Users Organization (TO FATHER), according to which

the purchase of masks at a price of 0.96 euros can represent an expense of 70 to 115 euros per month for a family of four, […] a cost that is difficult to bear for the most vulnerable families ”.

Disposable masks have a maximum use time of four hours.

At the peak of the pandemic, last April, when Spain – one of the most affected countries in Europe – was still sorely lacking in masks, the government had imposed price controls.

A measure authorized since 2015, including for drugs and health products not subject to prescriptions.

“In the case of an ‘exceptional health situation’, prthus ecise the site The Economist, the Interministerial Commission for the Price of Medicines can set a maximum public price for the duration of this exceptional situation in order to protect public health. ”

A rate of VAT who will drop

Hence the intervention last April, even if the price set then had been deemed too high by consumer organizations. Especially since the socialist government refused to lower the rate of VAT applied to protective masks, i.e. 21%.

In the wake of the drop in prices, Madrid finally announced an upcoming drop in the VAT, at 4%, “What the opposition political parties and social assistance associations demanded for this staple product, the use of which is compulsory”, precise The country.

Among the “opposition parties” mentioned is in first place Vox, the far-right formation which burst into the Spanish political landscape in 2018, to become the third parliamentary group – 15% of the vote in the last elections of November 2019.

As the site writes The confidential,

Vox asks that the state finance the masks, and it has made this theme its hobbyhorse in recent weeks. This personal protective equipment has become a symbol allowing him to present himself as the defender of the most disadvantaged before the executive. ”

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